Let’s face it most of us don’t sign up to this assistant malarkey because of the short hours. We kinda know that we are not going to start the day at 9am and be out the door at 5pm. The hours are unpredictable and we are often the last to leave and the first to arrive. We also expect to get the odd phone call in the evening / middle of the night / break of dawn. Our Executives work long hours and as their right hand gal we know that we have to be there to support them whenever and wherever. This makes it difficult to have any kind of work life balance. When the boss calls we simply have to be there to pick up the phone. Saying that it is important that we have some sort of life outside of our work. We will burn out pretty quickly if we don’t have some sort of personal life. So how do successful assistants achieve a work life balance? This is something that we will be discussing during the Assist Conference. Our panel of successful assistants will talk about their experiences and how they negotiate a work life balance when technology and social media enable a constant connection with their Executives. It is an important subject and one that will need constant consideration as the years pass, our jobs become increasingly demanding and technology becomes more advance. In the mean time here are a few work life balance tips for assistants.
Can you say no?
I’m going to throw this one out there straight away. You might not be able to say no to your Executive but can you say no to colleagues that might be able to do the work themselves? This is something that is really worth thinking about if you are working incredibly long hours and find it difficult to achieve a work life balance. What are your priorities? If you are not spending much time with friends and family because you are doing work that other people should be doing then you probably do need to say no more often.
Work smarter not harder
This is a phrase that always comes up when you talk about work life balance. All of the self-help books in this area offer tips around smarter working, some are more useful than others. In the case of our profession it is definitely a good idea to have procedures in place that make it easier to get things done. Here is a blog that I wrote a while ago about productivity and working smarter. My personal favourite tip is putting an administrative manual together to give to colleagues so that they can do a lot of admin work on there own (for example getting their own stationery, printing their own documents, getting their own coffee, finding the toilet on their own…)
Leave your work in the office
So you might have to work long hours but when you eventually leave the office do try really hard to make sure that your work is left at the office. In other words do not bring your work home with you – either physically or in your mind. This is much easier said than done but if you can master this one it makes for a much better work life balance.
Drop your standards?
Nearly every assistant I have ever met is a perfectionist and those that are not have seriously high standards. When you are working ridiculously long hours it is worth asking the question – does this need to be perfect or can it be good enough so that I can get home at a reasonable hour tonight? Only you can answer that question and it does depend on the work and who you are doing it for. Maybe a more important question to ask yourself and actually the person you are doing the work for is – ‘is this urgent?’ Can it wait until the following day so that you can get home and sleep?
The Work / Life Balance of a Successful Assistant panel session is one of many fantastic sessions at the Assist Conference 2016. Taking place in London on the 26th February there are places available for only £300+VAT. To book your place and find out more information please visit the Assist Conference website.